I’ve debating this week whether to post this piece or not, but today felt like the day to do so. Here is my opinion on why you should not watch the popular Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”…
I recently finished the Netflix Original series, “13 Reasons Why”. I began the show last Saturday night and slowly but surely became obsessed, therefore finishing the series within three days. There are only 13 hour-long episodes but with my crazy schedule, this was quite the accomplishment.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not finished or plan to watch the show, please stop reading so I do not ruin the show for you. Although, I strongly advise keeping my thoughts in mind while watching, whether you agree with them or not.
When I began the show, I honestly found myself bored. The first few episodes were somewhat hard for me to follow with so many flashbacks, along with Clay (one the many main characters) listening to these tapes and the “present time” scenes. I began to enjoy the mystery & somewhat confusion then my brother (18 year-old, senior in high school) convinced me to keep watching & that “the last few episodes are the best”. So I did.
For those of you who have no plans to watch the show & could care less if I ruin it for you, here is a quick summary…
The show is based around junior in high school, Hannah Baker, committing suicide and leaving thirteen tapes explaining why she did so. Clay, her co-worker and come to find out, mega-crush, is the twelfth person to receive these tapes after Hannah’s death. Seeing as he is the person the twelfth tape is about. The series follows Clay as he listens to the tapes, finds out the horrible things the previous eleven high school students have done to Hannah over the last two years, until he reaches his tape. As he listens to the tapes, he begins to hate these students (as he should) and take his anger about what they did to Hannah, let alone to each other, out on them.
Meanwhile, you are forced to witness the horrific pain Hannah Baker’s parents are enduring trying to come to a conclusion as to why their daughter would do such a thing. Having no remote idea about the tapes. Yet, eleven other students have listened to the tapes, the crimes and horrible things mentioned on them, and heard Hannah’s reasoning for committing suicide. Never speaking a word to anyone but each other about the tapes nor the horrible things mentioned on them. Only to save themselves from trouble with their parents, school and the law.
So here are my personal issues with the show. & here is my disclaimer:
No, I am not a current high school student, I graduated in 2015. I cannot say I have ever attempted suicide or felt the need to. Yes, I do understand it is a show and meant for entertainment purposes. No, I personally do not care if you do not like my opinion.
- This show is for the bullies. This show is not for someone suffering from mental illness.
I believe the show was meant to shed light on a horrible topic for those shit-head kids who pick on others to realize how their choices can make others feel. What they do not acknowledge is that most of the time, those bullies are having just as many problems themselves, that’s why they are bullies. I do not believe the show did absolutely anything to help someone who is mentally ill or debating suicide as an option. Really, it did the opposite.
- Suicide is final. There is no revenge. You do not get to watch everyone slowly figure out why you chose to take your life.
Unfortunately, there is no going back once someone chooses to take their life. In my opinion, this show makes suicide look like the only answer to bullying. That no one will believe you if you ask for help. That leaving a series of tapes explaining why you committed suicide is cool. Do those students deserve to know how what they did to Hannah made her feel? Yes. Does that bring her back to life? No.
- Hannah Baker chose to take her life because she was bullied, assaulted, ignored, etc. Leaving these tapes to “torture” the thirteen people on them. Which is bullying in itself, correct?
The entire plot of the show is about the thirteen tapes and how they take over the lives of the people they are about. Which ends with one of the students attempting suicide himself, two or more becoming alcoholics, one student homeless and the rest extremely distraught. The HORRIBLE (and I say HORRIBLE only because I cannot think of a more appropriate word to describe) things these students did to Hannah are truly terrifying. Do they deserve the stress they endured listening to the tapes? Yes, probably. But isn’t that bullying? Isn’t the entire message behind the show to STOP bullying?
- Suicide is not entertaining. It is real.
While the show goes into extreme graphic detail about the bullying, sexual and physical assault, it also goes into detail about Hannah’s suicide. This, I was not prepared for whatsoever. Had I known this prior to watching the show, for personal reasons, I would’ve chose not to watch it. I am a strong believer that you cannot ignore the horrible things going on in the world, and that if you witness their effects, you will understand the severity. But this show, goes into horrific depth about the multiple rapes of young girls, death of a student due to drunk driving and then main character Hannah, violently take her life with a razor blade in her bathtub. Prior to her parents walking in to find her dead. This was extremely difficult for me to watch and on multiple occasions, I had to look away or became nauseous watching the series. Again, while talking about something so serious, nothing should be taken lightly. To me, the moral of this story isn’t that suicide is not the answer, it is that if you are a bully, you will eventually pay the consequences.
A year ago today, I lost someone extremely close to me who chose suicide was the answer for him. Do I know why he did so? Not specifically. Other than he felt alone. Did he think about how this choice would make this family and friends feel? I cannot answer that. Knowing the beautiful person he was, I would say he did. Because he would never want to hurt anyone he loved. Which is what makes it so much harder that he felt this was the only option for him.
My only hope while the show continues to be one of the most popular shows around the world, is that it’s viewers acknowledge that suicide is not the only answer. There are so many ways to get help. There are so many people who love you and care about you. Do not feel alone. Do not feel like no one will care or nothing will change. & to those viewers who pick on others for whatever reason it may be, there is help for you as well. No one deserves to feel alone or useless.
If you or someone you know is feeling this way, please visit these links or feel free to contact me directly. I do not care who you are or if you wish to remain anonymous, if this post can save someone else’s loved one from feeling alone, that’s a win in my book.
Text the CrisisTextLine- Text CONNECT to 741741
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention afsp.org/find-support/
Suicide Prevention Resource Center sprc.org/resources-programs
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Rest easy, Rahsaan. You are loved & remembered every day.